Necessary Conditions for Warm Inflow Toward the Filchner Ice Shelf, Weddell Sea
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionGeophysical Research Letters. 2020, 47 (22), e2020GL089237. 10.1029/2020GL089237
Understanding changes in Antarctic ice shelf basal melting is a major challenge for predicting future sea level. Currently, warm Circumpolar Deep Water surrounding Antarctica has limited access to the Weddell Sea continental shelf; consequently, melt rates at Filchner‐Ronne Ice Shelf are low. However, large‐scale model projections suggest that changes to the Antarctic Slope Front and the coastal circulation may enhance warm inflows within this century. We use a regional high‐resolution ice shelf cavity and ocean circulation model to explore forcing changes that may trigger this regime shift. Our results suggest two necessary conditions for supporting a sustained warm inflow into the Filchner Ice Shelf cavity: (i) an extreme relaxation of the Antarctic Slope Front density gradient and (ii) substantial freshening of the dense shelf water. We also find that the on‐shelf transport over the western Weddell Sea shelf is sensitive to the Filchner Trough overflow characteristics.